Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eminent Introductory

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I sought after Franklin Roosevelt as an eminent person for “Night of the Notables” after hearing that Roosevelt the only U.S president to have served more than two terms. However, this was merely a morsel of Roosevelt’s vast array of achievements. Franklin Roosevelt was a charismatic and revolutionary man who rescued the U.S from the brink of economic collapse, built the New Deal Coalition, spearheaded wartime alliances, and redefined the federal government while being unable to walk. Roosevelt is an international legend and hero who I aspire to be as great as. Image result for franklin roosevelt ww2

Franklin Roosevelt Neilan Tan
Male Male
Caucasian Descent Asian Descent
Upper-Class Middle-Class
Born in Hyde Park, New York, United States Born in Maple Ridge, B.C, Canada
Born in the year 1882 Born in the year 2003


I believe that I share the quick-thinking, charismatic, ambitious, and headstrong qualities that Franklin Roosevelt. These qualities are some of the many defining characteristics that lead to Roosevelt’s continued success and vigorous perseverance. Roosevelt used these qualities to influence the people around him into a change and ushered in a new era after the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s journey is similar to my goal in TALONS, which is to make a difference among my peers and hopefully influence them in some positive way. Although Roosevelt was a stunning and cunning man, it may be hard to relate to him because he had more opportunities as a person than most people. From young, he had lots of connections to important people, such as his fifth cousin who was president of U.S before him. I may be able to exemplify his ambitions and goals, but his upbringing is different to mine in many ways.Image result for franklin roosevelt ww2

Franklin Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States and entered office during the worst economic crisis in history. He helped millions of Americans by building the New Deal Coalition and bringing the federal government into a new perspective. After building a much more stable economy, Roosevelt led America in one of the worst wars in history. He led successful wartime meetings with Britain and the Soviet Union during World War II and helped build the atom bomb which ended up saving thousands of Americans. Franklin Roosevelt is someone who has been recorded in the annals of history and will continue to be an inspiration to people in the future. However, his journey was not a smooth rise to success. Roosevelt woke up one day to find that he could no longer walk, but that did not stop him on his road to success. The small setback had only ignited his desire to keep moving on forward which is why he is someone who everyone should know about. Franklin Roosevelt is a man who achieved a lot, while facing off with even more. We should all learn a bit from him and understand that setbacks are merely whetstones to consolidate your ambition.Image result for franklin roosevelt ww2

First Eminent Post

“We’ll hold out until our last bullet is spent. We could do with that whiskey.”                             – Patrick Quinlan

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The year is 1961. 157 Irish peacekeepers sent by the United Nations, including Patrick Quinlan, defend a small outpost in the African Congo named Jadotville. The Irish are convinced that they wouldn’t face any opposition, that their presence would be enough to keep the peace, but instead, they are met with 3,000 African soldiers and hired mercenaries armed with mortars, mounted machine guns, automatic rifles and a jet outfitted with high-caliber guns and bombs. Patrick fights back with everything they have, but runs low on supplies and is forced to surrender after five days of multiple attacks from the enemy. All 157 soldiers survive and are sent back to Ireland after a month in an African prison. Instead of getting medals when they return, they are called cowards for surrendering, their story didn’t make it back as well as they did. Because of issues in politics at the UN, their true heroism is not revealed until 2005. Pat Quinlan passes away at the age of 78 in 1997, but shows the world that Ireland doesn’t quit so easily.

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I aspire to be Patrick Quinlan. I want to be as brave as him when he fights, I want to be as smart as him when he surrenders to save his soldiers. He chooses to surrender when the UN fails to give him reinforcements and supplies, if he had chosen to keep fighting, he would have chosen death without meaning. Each of the 157 soldiers are eminent in my view, they are how the Irish were able to hold Jadotville for five days, but Patrick is why they survived. Without Patrick’s leadership, the soldiers would have either died, or surrendered early and the story of their cowardice would’ve been the only story. Sadly, Patrick died while he was known as a coward, this is why I’m choosing him as my eminent person, because I believe he deserves more credit for what he has done, and I need to make sure that everyone knows that he is a hero, not a coward. I want to do more research into The Siege of Jadotville, I want to know everything about how Patrick was able to hold the outpost for so long, so I can better teach others about his heroism.

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Link to the Netflix film: The Siege of Jadotville


Eminent Intro – James Cook

“The man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”
― James Cook


captainjamescookportraitRising through the ranks, Captain James Cook was a British explorer, navigator, and cartographer who revisioned the idea of adventure. With his crew, He went on three major expeditions, discovering new kingdoms, islands, and tribes. Cook’s devotion and perseverance at sea left him known as a legend, creating the first charts of the Pacific Ocean that are still used two centuries later.

Cook was born in the small town of Marton, Yorkshire on October 27, 1728. Having six siblings and living in poverty, He first started working with his father at the age of 12 trying to help save his farm. In 1745, Cook left home and traveled to the fishing village of Staithes in the north of Yorkshire. From there, he began to work as a clerk at a small grocery store. After eighteen months, Cook finally had enough money to travel to the northern port of Whitby and It wasn’t until he was 18 when he was offered a job as an apprentice on Captain John Walker’s ship transporting coal from Tyne to London.

James worked on small ships called colliers for nine years of his life working his way up to ship’s mate. During the time he sailed on the colliers, Cook studied mathematics and astronomy and became an outstanding navigator. Shortly before January 1755, Captain Walker offered Cook to replace him and become the new captain, but Cook turned down the offer, leaving Walker in disbelief. Seeing recruitment posters for the Royal Navy, Cook rejected Walker in the hope to travel the world.

In the summer of 1755, Cook enlisted in the Royal Navy. His first posting was with the HMS Eagle, serving under Captain Joseph Hamar as a masters mate. He was in the Royal Navy for less than a year when Britain declared war on France in which became known as the Seven Years’ War. The Royal Navy sailed across the Atlantic to Quebec where Cook charted the St Lawrence River and other parts of the eastern coast. Due to his outstanding skills in cartography and navigation, Cook was promoted to master, one of the highest ranks in the Royal Navy.

In 1768, the Royal Society urged King George III to help finance an expedition to the Pacific Ocean where they would study the “transit of Venus”. The expedition was approved and the Admiralty combined the voyage with a confidential mission to search the South Pacific for new lands. They were going to appoint a geographer named Alexander Dalrymple but he lacked experience at sea. Lucky enough, the Royal Navy suggested James Cook for his outstanding background knowledge in mathematics and cartography. Months later, James Cook departed Plymouth on the HMS Endeavour with provisions, a crew of 85, including 12 Royal Marines and twelve tons of pig iron.

The first voyage was all focused on observing Venus as it passed between the Earth and the Sun. This would help astronomers to calculate the distance between the Sun and the Earth. Cook first arrived in Tahiti on 13 April 1769, to conduct all of the Venus observations which later was called the Venus Transit. After completing the first part of the expedition, he was now ordered to search for new lands. Once reaching New Zealand, Cook first sailed through the narrow gap between the two islands and landed on the north-east coast. Upon landing, His crew was attacked by a local tribe known by the Maoris. After showering them with gifts and provisions, Cook continued on his journey and mapped parts of the coast just before sailing up to Australia. After charting the East Coast, Cook headed for Hawaii but the HMS Endeavour sailed right across the Great Barrier Reef creating a large hole in the bottom of the ship. With no other choice, Cook had to return to England.

Almost immediately after returning home, James Cook was given another mission. Terra Australis was The theoretical idea to search for the southern continent. But after the first voyage, Cook came to the conclusions that New Zealand was not attached to a larger piece of land. Although Australia was considered “continental size”, the Royal Society still believed that Terra Australis was further south. In 1772, only one year prior to his first voyage, Cook set sail again, looking for the promised lands of Antarctica. After the incidents of being attacked and almost sinking, The Royal Society decided to send two ships, HMS Endeavour and HMS Discovery as precautions. On July 17, 1772, the two ships were surrounded by giant icebergs, stopping them from going any further. He made many fruitless attempts to encounter the mainland unfortunately, Cook never set foot on the frozen southern continent.

Soon after returning back to England, Cook was promoted to the rank of post-captain. He received many awards from the Royal Society but that wasn’t enough for him. He couldn’t be kept from the thrashing waves of the ocean. In 1776, the Admiralty gave him the chance to find the Northwest Passage and he immediately took it. After traveling to Plymouth and gathering more 33d7a6e200000578-3573579-image-a-117_1462386445473crew and another ship, Cook set off on July 12, 1776, for his third voyage from the port, saying farewell to his friends and family for the last time.

Cook first sailed to Cape Town with his two ships, the HMS Endeavour, and the HMS Resolution, in order to restock on food and water before heading towards New Zealand. The Endeavour was carrying huge barrels of food and drink and many other provisions. As for the Resolution, it was carrying cattle, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, and rabbit which Cook nicknamed ‘Noah’s Ark’. Life wasn’t easy being a seaman. James Cook was a strict captain and had very tight rules on both ships, including orders that the crew had to bathe every day in the interest of keeping a deadly disease called Scurvy away. Scurvy was also prevented by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. The ship as well had to be kept clean; everyone had to clean the ship at certain times of the day and if anyone disobeyed these rules they would be lashed five times with a whip. Soon the weather became colder and the ocean became harsher, leading to many crew members dying of infection, drowning, or hypothermia.

In January 1778, traveling north from the South Pacific, Cook discovered a group of islands that he named the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii. He briefly surveyed Hawaii before continuing north up the coast of America towards British Columbia. Cook sailed past Vancouver Island but weather worsened and there was no hope in finding the Northwest Passage. Arriving back in Hawaii after turning around, Cook and his crew hopped into enormous rowing boats and rowed all the way around the island. Before landing on the beach, Hawaiians greeted them with gifts and food as they were having festivals of worshiping Lono, the God of Music and Peace.
After a months stay, Cook became restless and desired to continue his exploration of British Columbia, But the ships ran into a huge storm, causing the foremast of the Resolution to snap in half. Within two weeks, the ships had returned to Hawaii. Local Hawaiians were not happy with their arrival, reacting by hurling rocks and spears at the boats. After an unnamed group of Hawaiians stole one of the HMS Resolution’s boats, Captain Cook plotted to kidnap the King. Morning broke and Cook stormed into the village and took the hostage back to the boats where he would be held for ransom. The King broke free from the restraints, g12517290394_6ca0c2cf46_brabbed a spear and threw it at a crew member, killing him instantly. Instantaneously, a huge brawl broke out and the crew fled back to the boats, leaving Cook unprotected. As Cook was about to leave to the boats himself, a priest from the island distracted him, while another Hawaiian struck Cook on the head with a club before several more Hawaiians began to stab him to death.

The famous Captain James Cook died on February 14, 1779, at the age of 51.


I was drawn to James Cook by his passion for exploration. As learners, both Cook and I share our drive for adventures. We take risks in order to pursue our mission, no matter how strenuous or debilitating the challenge is. Cook was said to be independent while being very sociable at the same time. I believe in some ways I can be the same. I enjoy being independent and figuring out problems autonomously but I can also be put in a room full of total strangers and become friends with everyone. Another trait that we share is persistence. Over Cook’s entire life, he was never given anything. Being born into a poor family, Cook learned how to achieve his goals even if he was pressured by difficulties or hardship and is now considered as one of the greatest explorers of all time. I have also struggled at times in my life. Being the only people in my class to be gifted, I was always considered as “the smart kid”. However, that didn’t stop me from applying to MACC and then applying to TALONS. It’s the little decisions that make the biggest impact.

My current goal in TALONS is to stay focused on what matters. There are a countless amount of distractions and paths I could take that could have both positive and negative outcomes but I choose to stay on my current path. Staying focused on school work is my main objective and I know that in the long run, it could alter relationships with people in my life but hopefully, these choices I make will benefit or enrich my learning in some way. I believe that James Cook exemplifies my goals exactly. He too had many choices in life and paths to choose from but he stuck to his goal of exploring the Pacific Ocean, even if it meant leaving behind his homeland.

The legacy James Cook left behind should inspire all those seeking adventure. Cook spent 12 years at sea, charting the Pacific Ocean including the coasts of New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and the west coast of British Columbia. His precisely accurate charts provided navigators with maps that are still being used today. Cook’s voyages are credited with helping to guide generations of explorers, his astronomy studies assisted in the Venus Transit, and his legacy that he left behind causes many to believe that he did more to fill the map of the world than any other explorer in history.




Captain James Cook. (n.d.). Retrieved from

James Cook. (2016, May 16). Retrieved from

History – Captain James Cook. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Villiers, A. J. (2018, May 10). James Cook. Retrieved from

Welcome to the captain cook society. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Boissoneault, L. (2018, August 24). Captain Cook’s 1768 Voyage to the South Pacific Included a Secret Mission. Retrieved from

Colleridge, V. (n.d.). Captain Cook. Ebury Press: London.
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Eminent Introduction


“Feet, what do I need them for

when I have wings to fly?”


Art prodigy, open bisexual, feminist, political activist, cultural icon. After noticing that familiar face in various televised media and then on the back of a friend’s shirt, I was intrigued by how well known and impactful this entity seemed to be. The answer may not be obvious, but surely, you have encountered her at some point or another.

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Frida Kahlo is a remarkable figure; her bold character has persevered through a surprising amount. She has been especially perceptible to physical harm throughout her life: being born with spina bifida, contracting polio, surviving the trolley accident, and amputating her leg due to gangrene. Being a promising student, the inability to pursue long-awaited dreams was absolutely devastating. We can infer this from the various entries in her journal, examples being “the most important thing for everyone […] is to have ambition and become ‘somebody’, and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody” as well as “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to return” (Frida Kahlo). While this toxic mindset has led her to a history of mental illness and several suicide attempts, it has also allowed her to openly tackle many taboos throughout society that sane-minded people didn’t have enough courage to address.

In adolescence, she attended a school in which there were more than 150 males for every female. In her spare time, she would partake in the Mexican Party of Communism, lying to all colleagues that she was born in 1910 instead of 1907 in order to be considered a “child of the revolution”. It was through this community that she met Diego Rivera, a prominent artist and a man 20 years older, who would later become her troublesome husband that she very much loved. This turbulent relationship was dissed by virtually everyone; Kahlo’s mother only allowed it because Diego’s wealth could pay for Frida’s medical expenses. Through thick and thin, unanimous affairs, and remarriage, Frida was able to get art publicity through her husband’s connections nonetheless.

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While Kahlo did not do it alone, the memorability of her exhibitions were ultimately due to the ways in which her art expressed identity. The severe trauma from the bus crash left her with (what likely was) borderline personality disorder, depression, as well as acquired savant syndrome (characterized by exceeding abilities in a certain skill). This conundrum of traits made her different than everyone else and pushed her toward pursuing her uniqueness. The most common ideas that her artwork and image portrayed were cultural appreciation and personal acceptance (starring the moustache and unibrow). The rest of the world was in awe of revelation and empowerment coming from people of colour. This artist has cultivated their art style to what she believed reflected the Mexican heritage, whereas many others (including her husband) were impressionists of European concepts.


It is a little bit absurd that I compare myself to her; these are some of the ways that we are similar:

Frida Kahlo Olesya Kondrateva
Aspiring med student before the accident Aspiring med student
Doesn’t necessarily have a middle name Has no middle name
History of crippling mental illness yes
Angst; confusion, inconsistent sense of self Fluctuating self-esteem and societal purpose
Dark hair, dark skin Dark hair, dark skin
Part of the communist party Parents were born in communist Russia
Is the most prominent female Mexican artist! Known as the master of self-portraits (143 in her lifetime) Used to paint well; can sketch a face


On a deeper level, I think what draws me most to my chosen notable is the innate needs that we share in regards to the future we picture for ourselves, the thought-processing strategies we use, and the conflict of having opinions that sometimes directly contradict those around us. While I find it interesting that we share the same artistic passions, the negative way in which her thought process is similar to mine reflects what we’re striving for in life. There is this ongoing conflict of being an individual opinion with free thought as well as a reflection of the values of others. What is the point of existence if the control that we have over it is only so little? How do we go about our day without a clear purpose? What are the margins of being our own person? Why are we questioning our existence on some days, while are enlightened by passion and obsession over little details the next? Although not confirmed, Frida’s acquired savant syndrome may have been a catalyst as to her miserable intellect- which really intrigues me. There are many things that we don’t have in common: ethnicity, culture, and medical history, courage, financial status. Addressing difficult topics is always do-able when you approach it with respect and the best intentions. I am looking forward to finding a good interviewee, as well as coming up with an engaging idea for the short speech.

Serena Williams

“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.” -Serena Williams.

Serena Jameka Williams is a professional tennis player who was born on September 26, 1981 and is 37 years old. She grew up in Compton, California with her full sister Venus Williams and three half-sisters. Unfortunately, in 2003, one of her half-sisters, Yetunde, was fatally shot. Serena and Venus compete together in doubles tournaments. Serena became a professional in 1995 when she was only 14 years old. She currently has 801 wins to 136 losses in her career. She has done things no human on earth has ever done before such as winning the Australian opening while eight weeks pregnant.

She is extremely passionate for her sport as am I, which is the main reason I was drawn to her. With her athletic body type she helps girls with similar body types embrace their curves and muscles which I have always struggled with. On top of that, she advocates for gender equality in sports and isn’t afraid to speak up for what’s right.

My goal for the next step in my research is finding out what her life is like off the court. On the court we see her as a devoted athlete who fights for what’s right and for what she deserves; off the court though, we don’t have too much knowledge of what goes on.

I’d like to give a special shout out to Nadia Hakeem, who did Serena Williams some years ago as her eminent person; her blog gives me some of the basic facts but I’m also going deeper into what’s recently been happening with the athlete. Check out her blog about Serena!

Here are some of Serena Williams amazing plays in this years US opening

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Muhammad Ali Introductory Blog Post

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” – Muhammad Ali


Muhammad Ali is known for being the greatest boxer of all time, but he changed the world when it comes to religion, race, and politics. This is a compelling reason for me to choose Muhammad Ali as my eminent person for this year. Ali and I share some similarities and some differences, as shown below.

Muhammad Ali Jayden Singh (Me)
Racial Minority in America Racial Minority in Canada
Born in Louisville, Kentucky (1942) Born in Vancouver, British Columbia (2003)
Interested in Sports Interested in Sports
Gifted Boxer Gifted Learner
Islamic Not Religious
3x World Heavyweight Boxing Champion 3x Kahoot Champion


Muhammad Ali was a determined, hard-working, resilient individual. These are qualities that I hope to emulate in my life. Ali wasn’t afraid to speak his beliefs, which is a goal that I have for myself in this TALONS year. Although Ali and I share some similarities, we have some differences that I will need to address in my speech on Night of the Notables. For example, we are both racial minorities, but Ali grew up in America in the 1940s. The 40s were a time of racial segregation in America, which was much more difficult to live through compared to Canada in 2018. Ali was also Islamic and had much different religious views from me. I will address these differences by doing extensive research into Muhammad Ali’s upbringing and religious views in order to deliver an accurate portrayal of him on Night of the Notables.

Boxing was changed substantially by Muhammad Ali; Ali was the first fighter to win the heavyweight title three times. Ali was also interesting to watch both in and out of the ring due to his entertaining nature and the way he would interact with the media. The world as a whole was impacted by Muhammad Ali when he refused to serve in muhammad-ali-talkingthe military during the Vietnam War, citing religious reasons. Another explanation Ali gave for his refusal to serve was that he felt it was wrong to go fight in Vietnam while African Americans “[were] treated like dogs and denied simple human rights”. For his statements and refusal to serve in the war, Ali was arrested, suspended from boxing, and stripped of his boxing titles. Muhammad Ali never gave up; he wanted his heavyweight title back but feared losing to George Foreman in the championship match. Ali overcame his suspension by defeating Foreman and becoming the World Heavyweight Champion once again. Ali’s decisions will impact the world for decades to come thanks to other athletes who decide to stand up for their beliefs, like Muhammad Ali did. Unlike other boxers and athletes of the time, Muhammad Ali was not afraid to stand up to those in power, even if it meant losing some of his popularity, his titles, and his freedom. This is why Ali is worth researching and remembering. A piece of wisdom we can take away from studying Muhammad Ali is that by standing up for what you believe in, you can impact the world for generations to come.


My goal for the next part of my research is to look into what Ali’s upbringing and religious views were like so I can accurately represent him on Night of the Notables. I can’t wait for November 21st!

Introduction: Coco Chanel

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”


Whether your involved in the fashion industry or not, it is impossible to deny that Coco Chanel is the biggest turning point in the fashion industry. Born in 1883, she grew up during a time of war. She lost her mother at a young age to cancer. Albeit her rough childhood, Chanel created something elegant from something tragic, like a phoenix from the ashes. She changed fashion forever.

However, her upper hand wasn’t her creativity or her impeccable business tactics, but it was her ability to spot change before anyone else knew they needed it. A majority of her work wasn’t original or new, it was simply men’s fashion adapted to fit a woman’s needs.

When Chanel moved to France with the love her life, Boy Capel, she noticed how fussy and uptight woman’s fashion was. She made it her mission to relieve this and make woman’s fashion modern, comfy, and find luxury in simplicity. As a woman during a time of war where men held the dominant role, Chanel couldn’t simply change fashion at the snap of her fingers. She built up her fashion career from the bottom up, starting with a little millinery in France in 1910. While she sold all sorts of hats, she was also designing. She based her designs off her husbands closet, adding and taking things away to make woman’s fashion just as comfortable as men’s, but still gorgeous. This was an insidious war with the fashion industry because Chanel knew that the men leading the fashion industry at the time would not be accepting of her ideas. Her hard work paid off when she opened a boutique in 1913 selling her own products.


Sadly, her splurge joy didn’t last long. Capel died in a car crash in 1919, along with Chanel’s happiness. Her world went from color to black and white. She grieved along with the rest of the women who lost husbands and sons to the war. During this time, some would say that there wasn’t one family that was complete. Women would be seen on the streets draped in black shapeless dresses, mourning their losses. This is when Chanel realized, the other love in her life: fashion. Through her grief and loss, came what we still flaunt to this day, the little black dress. Chanel wanted to empower women, to remember the many lives lost in the war, while still looking elegant themselves.

Coco Chanel is my inspiration, as a fashion designer, as a businesswoman, and as a person. She encourages me to believe in and pursue my passion for fashion designing. she doesn’t let obstacles get in her way, when she has a set goal, she will go through anything to achieve it. She believes that the only way for women to get fashion that is comfortable and elegant is for women to design it themselves, rather than letting only men control the fashion industry. I agree with her all of these insights and I am fascinated by the realm of fashion and how Coco Chanel changed fashion to this day.


All this aside, I will have to work through barriers to really understand who she was. The main barrier is that Coco Chanel went through multiple tragedies in her life; losing her mom, getting put in an orphanage and losing her husband were all big parts of her personality. I personally haven’t gone through anything like that so that will be one of the big barriers. Another thing is the setting, Chanel grew up in Europe during the wars while I live in North America during a time of relative peace. Albeit these barriers, I am still very excited to look more into Coco Chanel and explore her eminence and how exactly she revolutionized fashion.

All the research I’ve done up to now have mostly been around who Coco Chanel is and her life; my next steps will be looking into what shes created, how her fashion line has changed over time and her current stance in media as of today.

With all this said, I can’t wait for another great Night of the Notables!



Harriet Tubman: A Timeless Heroine

“I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was on of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive.”




My chosen eminent person this year is Harriet Tubman. She was an escaped slave and abolitionist who led other slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad before the American Civil War. During the war, she was a nurse and Union spy; she collected information for the Union to help take down the Confederates. She was a woman who embodied the revolutionary spirit that became prevalent as slavery became less and less accepted in society. As a woman of colour, Harriet Tubman is someone I wish to emulate because despite the racism and prejudice people of colour had to face in the 1800s, she, a person who faced many social disadvantages being both black and a woman, found liberation for herself and the other slaves she was able to aid.

The time periods we lived in contributed to a divergence in similarities between Harriet and myself, but there are still universal traits that I believe we share today. She had a passion for leadership and helping others, and through my experiences (not only within TALONS but in other areas of life) I’ve learned how leadership can influence the outcome of events and the effectiveness of a team working together. We both see the injustices of the world and hope to rectify them so the world can be a better place. Even if our views may differ from the societal norm, I think we’d both stand firm for what we believe in.



  • African-American
  • Purely African ancestry
  • Female
  • Determined
  • Stubborn
  • Intelligent

Harriet Tubman was an incredibly brave woman who helped others even at risk to her own person. She was valiant and courageous, shown when she stepped in the path of a two-pound weight meant for another slave that broke her skull, leaving her with lifelong somnolence and hallucinations. I could only hope to be as brave as she had been. She exemplifies my goals of selflessness, resourcefulness, teamwork, and unwavering vigilance in TALONS. The biggest difference between Harriet and I is that I’m of the middle class while Harriet wasn’t even considered a complete person to some in her day. The privilege I was born with will be the biggest barrier between the two of us, but I have yet to figure out how I’m going to incorporate it into my speech.


Harriet Tubman helped over 300 slaves make their way to freedom in the Northern United States. In addition, she was the head of an espionage unit in the Union army that helped inform about the Confederate’s supply routes and troops, and liberate more slaves to create black Union regiments. When settled after the war, she worked with notables like Susan B. Anthony on the women’s suffrage movement. In 1896 she opened the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Coloured People, one of her many philanthropic efforts.
It’s been 105 years since Harriet Tubman died, yet she remains a symbol of hope and change to people all over the world. Her courage led to the liberation of some of her people and contributed to the outcome of the Civil War and the eventual abolishment of slavery in North America. It’s because of her actions that she was planned to replace Pres. Andrew Jackson on the front of the American $20 bill (an act that was put on the backburner by President Trump’s Treasury Department when he came into office) and be memorialized in American history.

From brain injury to slave owners and $40,000 bounties on her head, Harriet has had to overcome numerous impediments to liberate herself and her people. She overcame them by being resilient, even in the face of opposition from her own people. She would carry a shotgun with her on the Underground Railroad to keep skittish slaves from returning to their masters and revealing the existence of the Railroad. She wanted freedom and safety for her people, and though she feared being caught she kept pushing forward. I believe it was this tenacity that allowed her to overcome obstacles.




Harriet Tubman is one of the most notable figures in not only Black history but American history as well. The impact she made bettered the lives of those around her, and things may have been very different if she hadn’t performed the perilous acts that she had. In the many abolitionists I’ve researched, Harriet has been the one that I’ve personally connected to the most. Whether that’s due to our ancestry or her amazing story I’m not sure, but what I do know is that Harriet Tubman teaches us that standing up for ourselves and others and defying social norms for what we know is right can lead to positive change in the world around us.


Eminent Person Introductory Blog Post

“Today, making money is very simple. But making sustainable money while being responsible to the society and improving the world is very difficult.”

For this year’s eminent person project, I have decided to do Jack Ma, a Chinese billionaire who revolutionized the way that China buys items, and is currently one of the most powerful influences on China’s economy.

As a very successful and influential person, Jack Ma has become a person of wisdom, which he commonly shares with others. Over the past few months, I have been watching videos of his speeches, which have inspired me to do better in school, and in general. I relate to him through my perspective on failure, as we have both failed at things many times, but always see it as a learning experience to improve ourselves. He has a very strong will, and is determined to get better, which are two traits that I have been working on myself. We also both do a form of martial arts, to practice discipline, apply wisdom, and to exercise.


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I also see connections between the path that he took, and my own goals. He used to be quite shy, and not much of a public speaker, but with years of experience, he is able to talk comfortably with large crowds, such as at the World Economic Forum. The goal that I can relate to this is to “improve public speaking skills by practicing whenever possible.” Jack Ma had a similar goal, but instead of just working on getting better at public speaking, he wanted to become more fluent in English.

The only distinguished differences between Jack Ma and myself would be where we were brought up, and our first language. He was brought up in China, and learning English as a second language; the opposite is true for myself, being brought up in Canada, and speaking Chinese as a second language.

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Over his years as a billionaire and a big influence on China’s economy, Jack Ma has not only changed the way that people in China shop, but has shifted the lifestyle and norms of the country. Even rural villages that would normally never be expected to have any technology have smartphones that they use to shop online, turning the normally laborious task into an easy one. Through the power that he has as a CEO of a large company, he wants to inspire and help others up through what money and his wisdom can do. He constantly is giving speeches of wisdom to university students or attending panels, to tell others to know how he became so successful, hoping that future generations can prosper. Even the main goal of his company is to lift up small businesses, by offering a platform for people to sell goods, and to invest in choices that will help them up.

However, his rise to his position was less than impressive. He was rejected from Harvard 10 times, but never gave up. When he went to apply to a job at KFC, 24 people had applied. 23 were accepted. He was rejected. However, his persistence and determination to become successful was what allowed him to get to where his is now.

For my last year in TALONS, I want this eminent person project to be something that I learn from. I hope to be able to apply his wisdom, emulate his determination, and make this project a memorable one. I won’t let rejection get in my way.

eminent – jeremy lin

I’m not working hard and practicing day in and day out so that I can please other people. My audience is God.

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Jeremy Lin leading the NY Knicks on a winning streak, “Linsanity 2012”

My eminent person for this year’s “Night of the Notables” is Jeremy Lin. Jeremy Lin is the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to participate in the NBA, and one of the only Asian Americans to be in the overall league up to this date. Lin was constantly denied a chance to prove his worth and play professional basketball, despite being the three-time All-Conference player in the Ivy League, and earning the Northern California Player of the Year honours in his high school senior year.
Jeremy’s perseverance through obstacles like discrimination inspires and draws me into his personality as a whole. He continues to live an underdog story and fight the stereotype for Asians all across the world, influencing perspectives and proving everyone wrong. His Asian descent perpetuated his stereotypical strengths and weaknesses, preventing him from being drafted and playing basketball. In the end, his determination proved to be his biggest strength, never quitting his battle to become one of the greats.
I believe that Jeremy and I are pretty alike. The concept of respecting everyone and using negativity or hate to the best of one’s ability applies to both of us, as well as an introverted yet extroverted personality. Integrity is also incredibly critical, not only “talking the talk” but “walking the walk.” Provided is a chart with more comparisons/similarities:

Jeremy Lin Kevin Gong
Male Male
Chinese American descent Chinese Canadian descent
English first language English first language
Chinese second language Chinese second language
Middle Class Middle Class
Born and raised in North America Born and raised in North America
Basketball player Soccer player
Two brothers Two brothers
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Kobe Bryant guarding Jeremy Lin after saying he wouldn’t need to guard him

A goal we both share involves proving our worth, while simultaneously being ourselves. Jeremy continues to demolish stereotypes and exemplify who he really is, and working up to doing that can be somewhat difficult. As for barriers, I am not a professional NBA player who fought through discrimination, nor have I been trash-talked by Kobe Bryant or Floyd Mayweather. To address these barriers in my speech, I will do my best to represent the inferred emotions he keeps inside himself. Although there are some bottled up emotions within him, he is a respectful role model. Based on his reaction to hate, his publicity with his religious beliefs, and his politeness towards everyone, Jeremy exhibits a calm, cool, and collected personality. He does his best with what he’s got and brushes away negativity, quoting “I’ve surrendered that to God. I’m not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore,” and “Well, I’m not here to live up to anyone else’s expectations-I’m here to live up to mine.”
Jeremy Lin has altered many admirable perspectives within professional sports, specifically perspectives to do with Asians and high tier sports leagues, like basketball. The “universe ding” he provides reminds people how discrimination isn’t necessarily against only a single minority, and that a majority of discrimination is overlooked in the media. Jeremy will be remembered for as many years the NBA stays relevant, being known as the first Chinese/Taiwanese American to play in it.
He faced many obstacles when getting to where he is today, each of them urging him to stop the farther he went. Despite earning the Northern California Player of the Year honours in high school, he failed to receive a scholarship and then decided to go to Harvard. After becoming the three-time All-Conference player in the Ivy League at Harvard, he was once again rejected and remained undrafted when leaving college. Eventually, Jeremy reached a partially guaranteed contract deal in 2010 with the Golden State Warriors, where he then got released after one season. He was then signed by the Houston Rockets, and after another season he was cut once again. Assigned to NBA’s Development League and cut twice from two teams in two seasons, Jeremy’s future was not looking bright. He inferred that he had only one chance left, and in December 2011 he was assigned to the New York Knicks, desperate from losing 11 of their last 13 games. In February 2012, Jeremy led the Knicks on a winning streak, and after demolishing Kobe Bryant, he became known as “Linsanity.” He was constantly denied his dream because of his race, his reputation, his relevance, despite his achievements and skills. All Jeremy wanted was to be able to follow his dreams and live his passion, in constant fear of ending up in an office. When overcoming these obstacles, his only motivation was his love for basketball and for God, playing for himself, not playing to prove himself.

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Jeremy Lin Golden State Warriors 2010

Jeremy Lin is a role model for minorities that face discrimination. All the obstacles he beat, the stereotypes he proved wrong, and the change he provided, these are all reasons why he should and will be remembered. His accomplishments are relevant to our generation, playing a big part in the NBA’s history. Out of all the people in this field, I chose Jeremy because of the similarities we hold, and because he faces obstacles much more diverse than everyone else in his field.
This year’s Eminent is going to be a doozy, especially on stage in front of a crowd. Although, if I were to take a single piece of wisdom from Jeremy, it would be that we shouldn’t care how others perceive us.
As Jeremy Lin once said, “I’m not playing to prove anything to anybody.”

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